The 08 MLB trade deadline is July 31st. The Astros currently sit in last place in the National League Central division with a 40-47 record and are 12 games behind the 1st place Chicago Cubs. The Astros payroll is 14th in all of baseball at $88,930,415 and we have one of the worst minor league systems... so that brings me to the question. What should the Astros do before the 2008 trade deadline? Should we have a fire sale and try to get rid of the contracts of Carlos Lee, Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Miguel Tejada(assuming the players wave their no trade clauses where applicable)? Should the Astros just go ahead and concede this season as a failure and look towards rebuilding through trades and look to try and be a good team in a year or two(at the earliest)? Or do you think we are close enough to being a good team that we should try and make a trade or 2 to better our team now and try to make a run for at least the Wild Card this season?
In my opinion... a fire sale is not the way to go. I'm not completely under the same thought as Drayton, that the Astros should never rebuild, they should retool... but I don't think trading away players like Lance Berkman is the way to go. I think the Astros are about 2 decent starting pitchers away from being a contender... maybe not for the NL Central, but at least for the Wild Card.
The Astros are going to be hard pressed trying to trade for any pitching... due to the lack of a minor league system, the Astros really have little to nothing in trade value that they could turn into big league pitching(unless they are going to trade away some of their current MLB players). So that basically leaves free agency. Free agency means that Drayton is going to have to open the money bags some and move up into the top 10 for spending.. which means move up over the 100 million mark for a team. Unfortunately free agency happens in the off season, so picking up any real contributors to the team during the season doesn't look like too much of an option... so that basically leaves us to standing put with what we have right now; riding out the rest of the season and hoping we can turn it around with what we have... and then in the off season, going after free agent pitching. Going after free agent pitching means we're going to have to overpay for the players... which is going to hurt.